Permit for involuntary admissions remains elusive – Mental Health Foundation finds no support in court

POSTED: 10/22/12 12:55 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance rejected a request by the Mental Health Foundation to order Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever to give it a permit for the forces admission of psychiatric patients.
Judge mr. Rene van Veen ruled that the lack of this permit does not create an unreasonable disadvantage for the foundation. The court fails to see that the minister hinders the foundation in the full execution of its statues, because these statues do not explicitly state the care for KZ-patients as one of the Mental Health Foundation’s tasks.
KZ-patients are defined in the national ordinance on insanity; in the meantime this ordinance has been succeeded by the national ordinance for the nursing of psychiatric patients.
The Mental Health Foundation needs a permit from the ministry to have a legal basis for the nursing of psychiatric patients that have been involuntary admitted.

Talks about the permit started in November of last year but when in site of several reminders sent to the ministry in April, May, June and July, it was not forthcoming, the foundation ceased to handle anymore involuntary admissions.
According to the attorney for the minister, mr. Richard Gibson jr., the permit has not been issued because the foundation does not meet the requirements for a mental hospital.
The position of the ministry is remarkable, because it grants the Mental Health Foundation annual subsidies. For this year, the MHF receives 1,652,950 guilders among other things – ($923,435) in twelve monthly installments. The minister confirmed this in an undated letter.
A ministerial decree attached to this letter contains the subsidy-conditions. In article 3, this decree states with a reference to the policy plan “MHF a team effort Multi annual Plan 2010-2012” that the subsidy will be spent on – among other things – crisis intervention, voluntary care and involuntary care.
In other words, the ministry subsidized the Mental Health Foundation to take care of psychiatric patients that are involuntary admitted, but it refuses to give it the permit it requires to have a legal basis for this part of its care-program.
In court it appeared that the ministry now prefers to transfer involuntary admissions to Turning Point.

In criminal court the activities of both Turning Point and the Mental Health Foundation recently have been a topic of discussion, in particular when it comes to dealing with suspects that have both an addiction problem (alcohol and/or drugs) and psychiatric or psychological problems. It appeared on those occasions that Turning Point did not want to admit clients with mental problems, while the Mental Health Foundation does not want to admit clients with addiction problems.

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